Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Transcript, intro lecture

Professor:  Calling names.  Alright.  This is my homepage [On board.]  

You can always find it by going to the department and clicking on it.  There's a link to the course webpage on it which is here, so I'll click there.  The course home page isn't on the UALR site.  It's on this blog.  The print won't expand here, but it's on blogspot.com. 

Blogspot was an early blog company.  It's a part of Google.  It's not that great of a blog system.   As you can see, there's... I'm going to show you the syllabus.  There's a limited number of tabs here- some are for homework, course guidelines, etc. 

These are homeworks from a year ago, so I'll have to update it.  Everything on this blog is leftover from last year, except for what I've updated for this year. 

[Teacher reading: [On board.]  

If I were to scroll down, there are announcements and lectures from last year.  You can see Wednesday, March 28, 2012.  That's a year ago. 

There's even a syllabus from last year, but I'm going to show you the syllabus from this year. 

So if you scroll down and you see a syllabus that doesn't look right, it's from 2012. 

I like to kind of keep a record.  So if you need the syllabus it's on this tab. 

So what we'll do next is look at the topics list and guidelines.  Before I do that, are there any questions? 

You may have questions later. 

Well, let's start with the course guidelines. 

So to get here, just click that tab and I'll bring you to this list. 

The future is important.  Being able to understand and use it- if you can think about the future, then you can think more wisely about your future. 

If you can guess what's going to happen with computers in 20 years, well, you'll be working in 20 years so maybe you can run your life a little more wisely.  And it's fun to think about what things will be like. 

Computing is undergoing rapid change, but it's other fields as well too.  Computing is famous for changing so fast that if you're ten years out of date you're in an ancient world.  What other fields are changing really fast?  Can anyone think of one? 

Every field, right? 

Male Student:  Medical

Professor:  Medical technology.  They can sequence your genome now for $10,000.  Pretty soon, your DNA sequence will be a part of your medical record and when the doctor prescribes some medicine, they'll see what genes you have that impact the dosage of the medicine.  That's happening really fast.  That's a good example.  Can anyone think of another example? 

It's hard to guess wrong.  If you said cars, you'd be right. 

No guesses? 

Anybody here into nanotechnology?  How many have heard that word?  Ever hear of grey goo?  What's that?

Male Student:  This substance that can adapt things. 

Professor:  Nanotechnology deals with tiny, tiny things- a nanometer is a millionth of a millimeter.  If you have a few atoms together, that's in the range.   If you can build a machine in that range, then you can have zillions of those machines. 

So let's suppose these machines could build other machines.  They won't be that complicated, but maybe you could build one with another one.  Then you'd have a mass of them which is grey goo.  They could do terrible things.  There's a fear that these tiny machines could destroy the world, but that's probably not going to happen.  But the technology is improving and they'll use it in medicine and assembly. 

Any particle that's in the nanometer range could be nanotechnology.  Tiny little machines are outside of what we can do now, but maybe they'll figure it out. 

Okay, so it's nanotechnology.  Any other rapidly changing technologies or fields? 

Energy is changing.  A few years ago most of the electricity in the US was generated by burning coal, but now we use natural gas.  That's not a change in technology so much, but it is a change. 

At some point, renewable energy like solar energy will make a big change in society.  If solar energy was cost-effective at this point, there would be no need to run electric wires.  People would just use solar panels.  And if you had an ice storm the whole city wouldn't go dark.  That wouldn't happen. 

Anyway, there's all these technologies and things in modern society that are changing and it's cool to know how they're going to change. 

Oh, I mentioned some here [On board.]  

So naturally I assume you plan to live and work in the future.  You'll probably live longer than me, so I guess it's more interesting for you than for me. 

We want to be aware of what's going to happen in the future.  We'll learn some techniques for extrapolating and predicting the future.  Well, predict is the wrong word.  You can't predict.  But you can guess.  You can look into the future to see what might happen. 

Some things are likely, like the sun will rise tomorrow, but I can't prove that. 

There's no textbook.  The web is loaded with useful information about the future.  All you have to do is type something in a search engine and you'll find it. 

Lots of cool videos on Youtube.  I'm Dan Berleant.  You're welcome to use this email to contact me.  [On board.]  

I guess I started that email account a few years ago, but I have a book on the future that's going to come out soon, and this is the name of it [On board.]  

When I have more to say about that I'll let you know. 

So email is the best way to get in touch with me or right after class.  So make sure you catch me and I also have a phone in my office. 

Any students with disabilities should know UALR makes education available [On board.]  

About the assignments- basically the homeworks will involve reading, writing things, and searching the web.  I want the class to be fun, but doing things like homework is fun and interesting and part of that. 

At the end of the semester, each student will present a 25 minute session on a relevant topic on the future.  You can do anything you want. 

It could be... there will be a presentation on your project.  The presentation and/or project can be in any form you want.  A lot of people write papers, but it can also be a team project. 

The presentation part may be a slide presentation or a skit, or a video.  You could perform a musical performance, which some people have done in this class.  Or you could read a short story that you write for the course- anything creative.  Students have done all of these things I've listed here.  If you do a performance thing like a rap, people love to watch those thing. 

The term project will develop gradually over the semester- a little more with each homework assignment. 

And then, you know, there's this Chinese sayings [On board.]  

[Teacher reading: [On board.]  

If every homework you do some more on your project, then by the end of the semester you just have to put a cover on it and give it a title.  It'll be easy. 

This is a 3 credit course nominally.  It means 3 contact hours per week and 6 hours out of class study per week.  If you put in 6 hours of work in this out of class, you'll get a really good great. 

So we're doing two 75 minutes sessions a week.  If I give too much work, let me know and I'll adjust. 

The presentation is 200 points.  And the term project itself would be another 200. 

If you can't hand something in on time just let me know.  The course doesn't have any pre-requisites, so we could have a wide variety of people in this class- someone in computing or humanities could take this. 

So I want the course to be accessible to everybody. 

If you have any suggestions or you think the course could be adjusted for you, just let me know.  No final exam for any student who is caught up with their homeworks

If not, then I'll have some kind of final to help bring the course to a close. 

In terms of grading, it's the usual scale- [On board.]  

The minimum grade on any assignment is 50% if you don't hand it in or full credit if you do.   You can't get below a 50.  So that's nice if you miss a homework- you could still get a good grade. 

It's still possible to catch up, although get a couple of 50's and they'll bring you down. 

There's a late policy grade for assignments [On board.]   See me and we'll discuss if you get too behind. 

And here I've got a list of links you can click to go find out things about the future.  There's a wide variety of different websites.  This is just a small sampling. 

So.... any questions about how the course works? 

Should we look at the syllabus? 

So this syllabus is based on the way we've done the course in the past, but I'm willing to change the topics if you just let me know of a topic you're interested in then I can try to incorporate it. 

As a default, here are the list of suggested topics.  I'll go through them quickly. 

Trajectories of the future-  So maybe you've heard of exponential change.  It doesn't increase over time like that.  It starts out slow and gets faster and faster.  That's exponential change. 

But, you know, unlike... some people say if this trend continues then the computer the size of your phone will be more smart than all the brains in the human race put together.  Usually things that increase exponentially level off so you get an S-shaped curve.  Maybe computers will get amazingly smart before they level off. 

That's one trajectory.  We'll talk about the different ways when we get there. 

I forgot what this one was.  Okay, different ways to look into the future.  Then there's different thought processes you can use to peer into the future. 

One of them we'll look at is the Delphi method based on Greek teaching.  It's a way of combining people to make predictions for things.  We'll try that in class. 

Another thing is prediction markets, which is like a stock market but it's a prediction.  Kind of like sports betting.  But there's a number of companies that let people put money on when or if something's going to happen, and if it does happen then they get more money and if it doesn't then they lose their money. 

It's fairly visible- the news kept talking about prediction markets during the election. 

There's a totally different technique called TRIZ which stands for something in Russian.  It's a technique for building future advances in devices. 

It's pretty interesting. 

You know, not just the future of technology of the world, but people have their own futures.  There's a video I'm going to show called "how to really achieve your childhood Dreams." 

Dreams are about the future, right? 

Unfortunately, I mentioned that you can't really predict the future, but there are ways to try to do it, but there are also reasons why you can't.  You can't know the future for certain. 

So we'll have three sessions on all the reasons- physics, logic, etc.- on why you can't predict the future. 

There's actually scientific reasons that help explain it. 

There's an interesting movie ABC came out with a couple years ago on the worse case of global warming, and it's pretty good.  It's low budget, but they did a good job on it.  Of course, it's worse case - that makes a better movie than an average case.  It makes you think though, so we'll watch that and discuss it. 

Toxoplasmosis- the disease that affect countries around the world.  Anybody ever heard of that? 

Pregnant women are not supposed to handle cat litter boxes because it comes from cats.  Any people have antibodies to this disease.  Countries with more house cats have more antibodies to the disease.  The bug that causes the disease is thought to go to your brain and affect the way you think by affecting your neurotransmitter profile.  It's really weird.  The bug's life cycle- it affects mice and rats and affects them to make them less afraid of cats so the cat can catch it and eat it. 

So the effect on the brains of people is of no use to cats. 

Male Student:  It makes you a cat person. 

Professor:  Well, that's possible.  I grew up with cats, and as I taught this session, I said "I have to find out if I have the antibodies or Not" so I bought a kit online and I tested myself and I do not have the antibodies. 

Transportation of the future.  Transportation means moving things.  Technically, transit means moving people. 

Will we ever find intelligent life out in the universe?  Maybe. 

Anybody ever hear of the singularity?  You will in this class!   There was an inventor who is kind of the guru of this theory.  Not only will technology get better, but the rate at which it gets better will increase and technology will be advancing so fast that the world will be unimaginably different- that's the singularity. 

I have a bunch of robots in my office, and one of you in my ethics class- we'll use them in both classes.  I like to teach with them.  What's more futuristic than robots?  We'll program them in class a bit and stuff

At that point, we start getting into presentations, and that's the default list of topics for the class

[Phone ringing]

Professor:  That's my phone.  I need a more futuristic and advanced cell phone.  Okay.  Was anyone hoping for any other topics? 

If you think of any, just let me know and we'll work them in. 

Why don't we look at a couple of videos that are futuristic and in the meantime we can talk about them. 

So here's one.... let me find it. 

I know it was in here a minute ago. 


This is a revelation from the future- a direct portal....
There is no better way to express this other than to explicitly state....

You are fast approaching a moment wen computers will become more intelligent than humans- your bodies, mind, civilization

[You can look up the video on Youtube and read the captions.  It's on the link]

Professor:  Okay.  I'm not endorsing that viewpoint, I'm just showing the movie.  So this was done by anonymous.  Do you all know who anonymous is?

Male Student:  Well, we don't know. 

Male Student:  A mix of....

Male Student:  it's a mix of people who contribute.... it's trying to bring all of this to light

Professor:  So it's a secretive, rather poorly organized group of hackers and social activists who have taken an ideological slant.  Usually they're more visible in the news when they try to take down a website. 

I never knew until I saw this video that anonymous was getting into the singularity.  It's really poorly organized, so I guess there are only a few people who feel strongly about it. 

Any other comments? 

Male Student:  I saw a video they posted and it was about this football team who raped this girl.  They hacked into all of their accounts because the guys weren't going to go to jail and they outed them. 
Male Student:  Something similar like that on twitter- during the summer there were some senators who found a child pornography ring on twitter. 
They called out these people on twitter trying to call them to come help them, and the next they they knew people were leaking information of where these people lived. 

I want to say there were 25 people arrested just solely on that. 

Professor:  Yeah, regarding that first case you mentioned, there were people from anonymous who should up for a demonstration on that.  I like this logo.  This symbol is a person without a face. 

Nah, that's something different.  I don't know what that is. 

Alright, I'm having trouble.  Okay.  So anyway, so that's anonymous.  What about the singularity?  I said I mentioned the singularity is a point in the future when technology is advancing so fast the world becomes vastly different.  We don't know when that will be, but some people do believe in it. 

There's a movement of people who believe in the singularity, and they're called Singularitarians.  So whoever did this were people from anonymous and they are also Singularitarians.  They're making a pitch for the movement. 

What do you think about Singularitarians, Singularitarianism, and the whole movement? 

Male Student:  I think it's an interesting concept.  I don't know enough about everything they're talking about as far as... I don't know.  I find it interesting. 

Professor:  I really only gave you half the story on the singularity.  So I said if technology continues to advance at a higher rate the world will change. 

Humans can build amazing computers.  Our species is able to build computers which are really kind of amazing- they do amazing things.  And they're getting more amazing.  To design a new computer requires other computers.  You can't do it with a bunch of people with paper and pencils. 

Computers are getting better at designing computers.  What if we make a computer with enough intelligence to build a computer that is as smart as itself.  Humans are no longer in the picture. 

That computer that is smart enough to build another computer that's as smart as it is, it could probably build one that's even smarter, and it would be a self-reinforcing cycle where we don't know where it would end- where the computers would just get smarter and smarter. 

We could be like, you know, mice compared to humans in terms of intelligence.  That's the artificial intelligence singularity, which I believe they alluded to in the video. 

Male Student:  So Skynet. 

Professor:  Well, that's one possibly.  That's the dystopian version.  The Utopian version is the idea that the computers would take good care of us. 

In my opinion, this movement has some religious like elements to it.  There's no real.... it's not an unreasonable guess that we will eventually be able to make computers that can make smarter computers.  But whether or not there's going to be that moment in time when the world is altered beyond recognition from that, I don't know.  I just think that the, you know, the power of humans over the environment will continue to increase indefinitely.  I don't think there will be a moment in time when suddenly there's a qualitative change in that model. 

I don't know if you saw the flier for this course- I had a picture on it.  It was an exponential curve and the singularity would be were things are going up like this, and then you hit that point where computers and build other computers, then suddenly the rate of technology increase becomes, you know, infinite. 

So this is time, and this point in time would be the singularity.  They gave a year prediction for this- 2045.  You'll all be around for that.  Me, if I'm lucky.  That's not very legible.  I don't think it's going to happen the way they think, but that's what they think. 

It has a Millenialist feel to it- the idea the whole world will change.  Most Singularitarians think the world will be unimaginably better.  To sort of assume it's got to be a good thing is really an act of faith, so I think that's the religious feel to it. 

So we'll talk a little more about the singularity in future lectures.  Any other thoughts?  Comments?  Questions? 

Well, alright.  Then I have some other videos I could show you. 

Let me go back to here. 

So I saw on the web a couple of weeks ago- someone gave their selection of the top video shorts of 2012.  We have time to watch a couple of them

Okay, let me see what the selection is here. 

Do you want sort of an action movie kind of thing?  That's one's definitely an action movie. 

Oh, there's two I want to show you.  I'll show you that one.

Okay, I'll show you tempo... I watched them all.  Okay.  We'll watch tempo and then we'll do this one called sight, which is totally different. 

Okay, where's tempo? 

Male Student:  It's down a little bit

Professor:  There we go.  Oh, it's 13 minutes we have about 20 minutes, so we're okay. 


Control run.  In 3, 2, 1....

Test 1, deceleration.  Introduction of tempo device.  Set to deceleraiton in 3, 2, 1....

Test 2, acceleration.  Switch to acceleration

Metronome.  3, 2, 1.....

So, basically to sum up, you can postpone it, but momentum is momentum.  You can't stop it. 

Have you guys given any consideration into developing this as a weapon? 

Woman: no. 

Does it work on people? 

Test 27- test on living organisms. 

Test 32- organisms with lesser mass.  Honey bees

At first glance, results appear to be surprisingly possible. 

Man: we do have something in development.  It should calibrate for humans. 

Man: I just saw you blow up a cow.  It's a weapon. 

Woman: you can use anything as a weapon. 

Man: if you give us money, we'll make it dispense ice cream. 

Man: so, what was that all about? 

Woman: what?  I thought it went really well. 

Man: anything can be used as a weapon? 

Woman: it's true.  So you really want to work for him?

Man: he's our only investor. 

Woman: he just wants us to weaponize it. 

Man: do you trust me? 

Woman: no. 

Man: that's code for yes. 

Woman: this one place has facilities in new Mexico and Hawaii. 

Man: you hate the beach

Woman: the desert's petty though.  And I don't hate the beach. 

Man: stay here. 

Man: stay with me. 

Woman:  I can't.  I'm bleeding to death.  I'm bleeding too fast

Man: does it work on people? 

Man: we do have something in development. 

Man: then we'll slow it down. 

Woman:  It's in the lab.  We haven't tested it yet. 

Man: I'll make sure it works. 

[Loud sounds]

Man: look, I don't want to shoot you, but if I do before I put this on it, it'll blow you into a million pieces.  Fire grenade! 

Man: sorry to ruin your day.   I know you had high hopes for your work, but like you said, momentum is momentum.  You can't stop it. 

Man: I wasn't the one who said that. 

Professor:  So maybe they'll make a full length movie about that. 

Male Student:  I think I saw something about where they were. 

Professor:  There's one other that I want to show you if I can find it.  This one is completely different, and this one actually could happen. then we'll be over for the day. 


Excellent, perfect, good job, well done.  Level complete


Snail zombies from your backyard! 

Life is journey, and in this journey, we all want to do more.  Experience more, feel more, and live with no boundaries.  And why shouldn't we?  Scientists present sight-seeing.  Freely free to go anywhere. 

Choose outfit. 


Man: Hi, you look great.  How are you? 

Woman: I love your jacket. 

Man: oh, thanks.  It's a sports jacket. 

Woman: what's the difference between a sports jacket and a normal one? 

Man: I guess people wear sports jackets when they want to look like they're being chased by the police.  This place has great burgers

Woman: Oh, I'm a vegetarian. 

Man: oh, that wasn't only profile.  So are there any other things that you didn't write about on your profile that I should know?  Are you scared of jogging by yourself in the city? 

Woman: no, and I'm about to hit level five on marathon master.  On the last route the site almost crashed. 

Man: that doesn't happen since our last patch. 
Woman; do you work there? 

Man: yeah, I'm an engineer. 

Woman: I read about your company.  Is it true you guys manipulate people's sights? 

Man: ah, I don't want to talk about work not while I'm here with a pretty lady. 

Woman: you know, you really get me. 

Man: you know, I can tell what you're thinking. 

Woman: really?  What? 

Man: well, you finished your drink.  How about we go to my place? 

Woman: if you're so good at reading my mind, you should know what I'm going to say. 

Man: here it is.  Make yourself at home. 

Woman: nice place you've got here. 

Man: it's alright, I guess. 

Man: a toast for a perfect night. 

Man: why are you drinking? 

Woman: what's that?  A dating app. 

Man: it's programming. 

Woman: I can't believe you put a gauge on me.  You creep.  Pathetic. 

Man: I said wait.  Now let's try this again. 

Professor:  Alright, well that sort of thing might actually happen.  So I will see you next time.  

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